The recession is forcing broad reductions. Worse, the era of excess consumer spending is over. In response, most business around the world, whether they buy or sell video surveillance, will have to tighten their belts. Even if your company was growing quickly and is still growing, these forces are likely to reduce the ultimate growth potential of your business.
You can either accept this (layoffs, hiring freezes, eliminate perks, etc.) or you can use the Internet to lower your cost structure This report examines how both end users and sellers of video surveillance can reduce their costs by up to 20% through using the Internet.
The smart way to respond to the recession (long term) is increase efficiency - to increase the productivity of the assets you use.
End Users (Buyers of Video Surveillance)
The two biggest inefficiencies of buying video surveillance are:
- Getting the wrong solution
- Paying too much
This happens all the time and is almost an inevitable consequence of traditional sales and marketing. Indeed, a key motivator to build these large product manufacturers is to get you to buy sub-optimal solutions at more money (or as we discussed a few months ago, the problems of buying from big companies).
Solution for End Users
End users need to use the Internet to educate themselves and to control their selection process. The problem is fundamentally insufficient information. While the sales person has more information they do on what they are selling, their interests are generally not aligned with yours. Use the Internet to educate yourself. Steps you should take:
The more you know and the less dependent you make yourself on the people selling you products, the better solution you will get at less money. While this has always been good advice, it is much more easy to achieve with the maturation of the Internet.
Solution for the Channel / Manufacturers (Video Surveillance Sellers)
As a whole, the industry sucks at using the Internet for sales and marketing. The only companies that know what they are doing are the small shops that sell cameras online. Indeed, these companies do way better than the deep pocket industry leaders like Pelco and Axis.
The industry is incredibly over-reliant on sales people and trade shows. Ironically, these are the most expensive forms of sales and marketing.
Here's a prediction: In the next 3 years, the companies that learn to leverage the Internet for sales and marketing will gain a sizable competitive advantage, significantly reduce their cost structure and enable faster much faster growth that their peers that do not.
Don't believe me? Consider this:
- Just in the US, in 2008, there were over 3 million searches just for the term video surveillance. There's at least another 15 million searches on video surveillance related terms (security cameras, IP cameras, security DVRs, etc., etc.)
- Manufacturers, integrators and distributors get no more than 5% of this traffic. Try some searches yourself and you will see the well known companies rarely return high results.
- Over 2/3rds of people research products online.
The bottom line is that the Internet is already a huge force and video surveillance companies are extremely poor at taking advantage of this.
Given the recession, it's fairly obvious that the importance of the Internet will only grow with buyers.
And online marketing is very inexpensive. The small online stores that dominate the search results clearly do not have a lot of money. Despite this, for tens of thousands of dollars they get over 500,000 visitors every year. Compare that to your trade show expenditures.
Using the Internet can let you reduce traditional marketing while increasing the revenue each salesperson can generate (by providing more high quality leads cheaper).
The question then becomes: How can companies improve their online marketing to take advantage of this?